The National Science Board (NSB), governing body of the National Science Foundation (NSF), has authorized the NSF Director, at his discretion, to make an award for construction of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). This action authorizes the NSF Director to provide an award not to exceed $433.7 million over five years to construct the Observatory, contingent upon funding from Congress and compliance with the Endangered Species Act and National Historic Preservation Act for the 106 NEON sites. “This decision culminates over five years of hard work and creativity from NEON Project staff, partners and the ecological community. It’s an honor to be standing where we are,” said Dave Schimel, NEON Project PI. The NSB met May 4-5, in Arlington, VA. This is the final major hurdle for NEON Project planning, following the successful completion of NSF-run Preliminary and Final Design Reviews, as well as inclusion in President Obama’s FY2011 Budget Request to Congress. Construction on the first NEON sites could begin as early as Spring 2011.